Thursday, February 02, 2006

Chafee: Bottom to Top

Life has been whizzing by, and I have not had much chance of late to comment on the myriad of interesting events from the State of the Union on down. So I’ll begin at the bottom and work up.

The bottom: Senator Lincoln Chafee, ever the enigma, as Gary notes below, voting against the filibuster to hinder the Alito confirmation, and then voting against now Supreme Court Justice Alito, who has, at the time of this writing, already demonstrated a moderation in his initial votes on the Supreme Court. And this from a Senator who represents a state made up of, among other ethnic cultures, a fairly substantial Italian-American demographic. Something is being added to his morning coffee, and it isn’t Sweet & Lo.

Chafee is either a fruitcake or a sage. Or maybe he’s the sage in the fruitcake? Nah! He’s definitely a piece of work because no one, not even his beloved Providence Journal, whose never met a Chafee or a Slocum it didn’t like, can figure out what he’s doing.

What he’s doing really is making it more and more possible for Stephen P. Laffey, the more conservative mayor of Cranston, to win big in the Republican primary next September.

The Middle: So now, Chafee, who has bragged about his NOT voting for President Bush because of his many disagreements with the President, patronizingly issues a statement about the President’s State of the Union address. He says, in essence: Good job Mr. President! An excerpt:

"In his State of the Union speech last night the President put forward a number of issues and ideas that all Americans can and do support. By urging all of us to put aside our partisan differences, the President called on all public officials to put the good of the country before politics, and to work together to achieve great things for the American people.”

He goes on to bore us to death about how proud he is of his moderate record, blah, blah, blah, and oh, by the way, “I look forward to working with the administration and my colleagues in the Senate to advance these worthy goals in the coming year. If we work together, we can do good for the American people and move the country forward." And this from a man who has never easily worked with anyone in his life except the bottom of a horse’s foot, but for whom you’d have better luck at Lincoln Park playing slots and predictably winning than figuring out where he’s coming from on any particular issue, or what he’s decided upon, or whether he’ll support his own party or not. The man should host the Oscars, he’s so amusing.

Well, if he’s not amusing, at least he entertains those of us fond of Hitchcockian episodic suspense.

The Top: But though he did not say it, he continues to disagree with the President about the war in Iraq, and this at a time when information is beginning to leak out about all those documents that American troops found and gathered during the early days of the war. Remember that? Remember that our troops were finding and absconding with huge amounts of intelligence? Well, only now are we beginning to learn what’s in those documents. Stephen F. Hayes at the Weekly Standard has written a piece about the content of only the first 50,000 documents of the zillions we have gathered. Guess what?

Saddam was training terrorists!


And guess what that means in the wake of 9-11?

It means we did the right thing going into Iraq, but Lincoln Chafee looks at all wars as the same – wars shouldn’t be fought in his view of the world. War is hell. Indeed it is.

You’ve got to have a certain appreciation for people who feel that way about war. You know, I’d like to tell my teenage children that life will be breeze, that they won’t have to work for a living, and that all good things will surround them in an Eschaton that has been made more imminent by wise policies and the perfection of man that takes place everyday, but I’d be lying to them, and doing them a grave injustice. And wars, unfortunately, and it pains even a curmudgeon like me every time a young, brave man from our country is required to lay down his life in this awful war, are an unfortunate reality. William Buckley once said that war was the second worst evil to mankind, the first being acquiescence in slavery. Wars are fought for freedom and the protection of the many, and those, like Chafee, who oppose the war, lessen the value of the sacrifice of these great young men and women who love their country and who have paid the ultimate for their beloved country and what it stands for; and those, like Chafee, also further risk our own safety and security, by sending the message to our ferocious enemies: attack us and we won’t fight back because war is hell.

In short, Chafee has proven himself to be a naïf, and like it or not, he has set the stage for his own ouster in a little over 6 months. That’s the view…from the top.

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